By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady is going to play in 2021 at the age of 44, which is an absurd age to play quarterback in the NFL. He’s signed through 2022, when he’ll be 45. Likewise, that’s a rather silly age to be for an NFL quarterback.
But then again, 43 is a preposterous age for an NFL quarterback. And Tom Brady is the reigning Super Bowl MVP, after a season where he threw 40 touchdowns for his new team. So perhaps Tom Brady is a little bit different than most.
How long he can ride that reality is anyone’s guess. But Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht is fine with letting it play out for essentially as long as Brady wants.
When asked by Rich Eisen if Brady gave any indication that his most recent contract extension will be his final NFL contract, Licht said that he did not get that impression.
“No. I want to keep all of those conversations mostly private, but no inkling at all,” Licht said. “I told him if he wants to play until he’s 50, and he’s still playing, and he feels like he can still play, then he can play until he’s 50.”
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 11, 2021
Perhaps Licht was being slightly hyperbolic there, but clearly, the Buccaneers are in no rush to force Brady into retirement. After turning a 7-9 team into a champion last year, delivering the first Super Bowl since 2002 and the second title in franchise history, that surely makes sense.
It’s also quite different from the Patriots’ approach to Brady in his final years. Brady openly spoke about his desire to play “at least” until the age of 45, but the Patriots weren’t willing to commit to him in his early 40s. That of course led to his departure as a free agent last March, after his contract automatically voided following the disappointing 2019 Patriots season.
That, though, came after 20 years, six Super Bowl victories, three more conference championships, and an unbelievable run that couldn’t last forever. The Bucs are in a slightly different spot with Brady, as they’re simply hoping it can last as long as humanly possible. Considering Brady seems to be untethered from the bounds of most humans, they just might get a few more years out of that relationship.